Tickets and more information: https://lwtheatres.co.uk/whats-on/be-more-chill/
Booking until: 3rd May 2020
Run time: 2hr 30 mins
The musical sensation Be More Chill has arrived in London, direct from Broadway. Based on the Ned Vizzini novel, the show follows Jeremy Heere, a high school teenager who just wants to fit in. He soon discovers a pill called The Squib, a supercomputer which lies inside Jeremy’s head and tells him what to do (like to…. be more chill. Get it?). I wasn’t sure what to expect after hearing mixed reviews of the show’s Broadway production, but I loved every single second of it. (Disclaimer: my squib didn’t tell me to say this).
It’s a classic nerdy outcast who wants to be part of the popular crew story. However, what makes Be More Chill stand out is that it’s not necessarily just about how the main character deals with the anxieties that come with being part of a social group in high school. The musical touches (albeit sometimes briefly) on how all of the characters feel as part of their social group, providing an underlying message that we’re really not all that different from one another. We all just want to be ourselves without the added pressures of life. Especially in places where it feels like the entire world is revolves it, like high school.
The incredibly infectious score by Joe Iconis is vastly upbeat and is sure to make you leave the theatre with at least one tune ringing in your ear. The score stands out from a lot of musical theatre, but in particular current musical theatre. Although a lot of current musical theatre tends to drive towards a pop/rock vibe (a la Heathers, Six, Dear Evan Hansen) but I really liked the use of the electronic vibe music in this production. This helped emphasise the recurring element of this super quantum unit intel processor basically running the show in the background (essentially).
The entire cast are utterly excellent. Leading is Scott Folan as our protagonist Jeremy Heere. A very understated performance, I loved how he portrayed Jeremy’s character development through his body language, gradually becoming more and more confident as the plot progressed. Playing his best friend Michael is Blake Patrick Anderson who is utterly charming in his performance and has a stunning voice. His rendition of ‘Michael In The Bathroom’ stopped the show for a good few minutes when I saw it because it was THAT good. The three leading ladies in Eloise Davies as Brooke, Renee Lamb as Jenna and Millie O’Connell as Chloe were all excellent as well and have incredible voices. The stand out song for me was when all three came together for The Smartphone Hour, which was so exciting to watch. Similarly, Miracle Chance is excellent as Christine and I loved the passion her character has for the theatre. But for me, the stand out performer was Stewart Clarke as the Squib. Now. Here’s the thing. The Squib, when it comes to it, is a computer. And yet Stewart Clarke gives such a charming, humanizing performance, I found it quite hard not to be compelled by his performance. (I’m not alone in this, right?). He just has this incredible ownership of the stage whenever he’s on it, he really is giving such a strong, wonderful performance.
The production elements are seriously out of this world here. Using a limited number of props, the set is mostly built with fantastic projections with a great scenic design by Beowulf Boritt and video design by Alex Basco Koch. The costumes designed by Bobby Frederick Tilley II are excellent and feel fresh and relevant. There’s one scene towards the end of act 2 where the costumes look like they could give the Emerald City down the road a run for their money. Chase Brock’s choreography is slick and exciting, particularly in the opening number More Than Survive.
Honestly, I really really loved this. I feel like this is going to be one of those shows that people will tut at because it has a huge fanbase mostly filled with young adults. However, I find it to be an excellent show that portrays social outcasts in a new way with a killer cast and killer score to match. A must see from me.
Until next time,